“Ground Zero Mosque” Debate: Distraction, Or Fundamentally Important ?

Glenn Greenwald argues that the "Ground Zero Mosque" debate is about more than just a "mosque" near Ground Zero. He's right, but that also means the debate is likely to get uglier.

Over at Salon, Glenn Greenwald lays out a fairly strong argument against the idea that has been circulated among some pundits that the debate over the Park 51 project is a distraction from the issues that politicians ought to be talking about as we get closer to Election Day:

There’s been a tendency, which I find increasingly irritating, to dismiss this whole Park51 debate as some sort of petty, inconsequential August “distraction” from what Really Matters.  Here’s Chuck Todd mocking the debate as a “shiny metal object alert” and lamenting “the waste of time” he believes it to be, while Katrina vanden Heuvel, in The Washington Post last week, condemned “pundits and politicians [who] are working themselves into hysteria over a mosque near Ground Zero” on the ground that it won’t determine the outcome of the midterm elections.  This impulse is understandable.  If you chose to narrowly define the topic of the controversy as nothing more than the Manhattan address of Park 51, then obviously it pales in importance to the unemployment crisis, our ongoing wars, and countless other political issues.

But that’s an artificially narrow and misguided way of understanding what this dispute is about.  The intense animosity toward Muslims driving this campaign extends far beyond Ground Zero, and manifests in all sorts of significant and dangerous ways.  In June, The New York Times reported on a vicious opposition campaign against a proposed mosque in Staten Island.  Earlier this month, Associated Press documented that “Muslims trying to build houses of worship in the nation’s heartland, far from the heated fight in New York over plans for a mosque near ground zero, are running into opponents even more hostile and aggressive.”  And today, The Washington Post examines anti-mosque campaigns from communities around the nation and concludes that “the intense feelings driving that debate have surfaced in communities from California to Florida in recent months, raising questions about whether public attitudes toward Muslims have shifted.”

To belittle this issue as though it’s the equivalent of the media’s August fixation on shark attacks or Chandra Levy — or, worse, to want to ignore it because it’s harmful to the Democrats’ chances in November — is profoundly irresponsible.  The Park51 conflict is driven by, and reflective of, a pervasive animosity toward a religious minority — one that has serious implications for how we conduct ourselves both domestically and internationally.

(…)

The animosity and hatred so visible here extends far beyond the location of mosques or even how we treat American Muslims.  So many of our national abuses, crimes and other excesses of the last decade — torture, invasions, bombings, illegal surveillance, assassinations, renditions, disappearances, etc. etc. — are grounded in endless demonization of Muslims.  A citizenry will submit to such policies only if they are vested with sufficient fear of an Enemy.  There are, as always, a wide array of enemies capable of producing substantial fear (the Immigrants, the Gays, and, as that video reveals, the always-reliable racial minorities), but the leading Enemy over the last decade, in American political discourse, has been, and still is, the Muslim.

That’s why the population is willing to justify virtually anything that’s done to “them” without much resistance at all, and it’s why very few people demand evidence from the Government before believing accusations that someone is a Terrorist:  after all, if they’re Muslim, that’s reason enough to believe it.  Hence, the repeated, mindless mantra that those in Guantanamo — or those on the Government’s “hit list” — are Terrorists even in the absence of evidence and charges, and even in the presence of ample grounds for doubting the truth of those accusations.

On some level, I agree with Greenwald completely.

Early on, it was fairly apparent to me that the debate over this project wasn’t an isolated incident and that the protests in Staten Island, Florida, California, Wisconsin, and Tennessee had nothing to do with “sensitivities” about the location of a mosque in a building that, nine years ago, was a Burlington Coat Factory in a neighborhood that includes OTB betting parlors, fast food restaurants, and a strip club. Additionally, the involvement in the anti-mosque movement of people like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, along with the rhetoric of political figures like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani has turned what should have been a rational discussion about best to integrate this community center into the TriBeCa community into something that is, quite frankly, distasteful in the manner in which it equates average Muslim-Americans with men who flew airplanes into buildings with the hope of killing as many people as possible. That’s one of the reason I’ve decided to engage on this issue, rather than let the field of rhetorical battle be ceded to the anti-Mosque crowd

Especially, since, as yesterday’s protest in New York showed, it’s quite a troublesome crowd:

Around noon on Sunday, Michael Rose, a medical student from Brooklyn, approached some of the hundreds of protesters who had gathered near ground zero to rally against a mosque and Islamic center planned for the neighborhood.

Mr. Rose, 27, carried a handwritten sign in favor of the mosque — “Religious tolerance is what makes America great,” it read — and his presence caused a stir. An argument broke out, punctuated by angry fingers pointed in the student’s face.

One man, his cheeks red, leaned in and hissed that if the police were not present, Mr. Rose would be in danger.

Before any threats could be carried out, the police intervened, dragged Mr. Rose away from the crowd and insisted that he return to the separate area, one block away, where supporters of the project had been asked to stand.

Minutes later, as Mr. Rose was still shaking off the encounter, he turned to find the red-cheeked man back at his side. The man had followed the student up the street, and the two now stared at each other for a tense moment.

Then the man stuck out a hand and, in a terse voice, said, “I’m sorry.”

“You have a right,” he told Mr. Rose. (He would not give his name.) “I am sorry for what I said to you. I disagree with you completely, but you have a right.”

Unfortunately, not all the encounters yesterday ended so peacefully, as this video of what happened when one man who the crowd thought was Muslim entered the area:

At the same time, though, there’s no denying that, at present, those of us who think that the Park 51 project should go forward are in a distinct minority:

A lot more voters are paying attention to the plans to build a mosque near the Ground Zero site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, and they don’t like the idea.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 85% of U.S. voters say they are now following news stories about the mosque planned near Ground Zero. That’s a 34-point jump from a month ago when only 51% said they were following the story.

The new finding includes 58% who are following the story very closely, up from 22% in mid-July.

Now 62% oppose the building of a mosque near where the World Trade Center stood in Lower Manhattan, compared to 54% in the previous survey. Twenty-five percent (25%) favor allowing the mosque to go ahead, and 13% more are not sure.

(…)

Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters nationwide say the building of the mosque near the 9/11 site is insensitive. Just 23% disagree.

Only 22% say they are at least somewhat confident that the mosque is being built to honor those who died in the 9/11 attacks, as some have suggested. That’s down eight points from last month.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) are not confident that the mosque is intended to honor those killed by the terrorists. This includes eight percent (8%) who are Very Confident and 41% who are Not At All Confident.

Still, just 49% say the mosque issue is at least somewhat important in terms of how they will vote, with 27% who say it is Very Important. Forty-six percent (46%) view the mosque as unimportant to their vote, including 20% who say it is Not At All Important.

On top of that, of course, we’ve got other polls which indicate that barely half of Americans agree with the idea that, senstitivity issues aside, Muslims have a right to build a mosque “near Ground Zero,” and a substantial plurality, though not a majority, seem to doubt that they have the right to build a mosque anywhere in the country. So, we’ve engaged in this debate for several weeks now and, so far, it seems to be the side that Greenwald (and I) disagree with that’s winning the battle for public opinion.

That’s not entirely surprising, for reasons I discussed last week:

If you were to base your opinion on Islam solely on what is portrayed on Fox News and on radio shows hosted by people like Sean Hannity, then it’s not surprising that you’d be opposed to not just to construction of a community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan, but any mosque anywhere. It is, quite simply, ignorance fueled by demonization. I would submit that if some of these people had actual Muslim neighbors or co-workers, their opinions about the religion, and the rights of its adherents, would be much, much different.

And that, I think, is part of the problem that Muslims in America face. They are a very small part of the population — somewhere between 1.3 million and 7 million people depending on whose numbers you go by — but they are part of a religion of 1.6 billion people worldwide that is, because of it’s radical elements, suspicious to some people. It’s a PR problem, but one made more difficult by the fact that it’s very unlikely that most Americans will know much about Islam other than what they see on television from the Middle East, and most of that, quite honestly, isn’t very good (which is, incidentally, why many of the Muslims in America are here rather than there).  When it comes to Islam, Americans suffer from a lack of knowledge about everything other than it’s most extreme and radical elements, and until that changes I’m afraid that the public’s attitudes about Islam are going to remain as negative as they are today.

So, I agree with Greenwald that there are important issue implicated in this debate that go far beyond whether or not an Islamic Community Center should be built two blocks from the site of the September 11th attacks. Unfortunately, I don’t think either one of us is going to like the direction that debate is likely to take, at least in the short term.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Islam, Religion, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Distraction. Definitely.

  2. mantis says:

    Fundamentally important. If we let the anti-religious freedom brigade win this one, the road ahead looks a lot bleaker, dominated by more and more “distractions” of this sort.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I wonder why it is you think to disagree with you is to be misguided? Doug has an ego problem and he cannot leave this issue alone. It is eating at him night and day. Doug, if you are not the coward I beleive you to be. Travel on over to Patterico’s place, read what rational thinkers are saying about this issue. You know. Real practicing attorneys. Do that so than you can learn from your peers or maybe enlighten them as to your superior thought processes. Then return here to edify us, your intellectual inferiors. Those of us who are older, have higher IQs, more experience, as opposed to your lefty indoctrization that passed for education, and traveled more to see more of the world than you Doug. You think the 210 million people who oppose the building of an Islamic Center on a site where debris from one of the planes that struck the WTC landed. A place once no doubt sprinkled with parts of Americans murdered by MUSLIM radicals are wrong because Muslims have a right to build a Mosque there. I think you live in a building, Doug, where the elevator does not go all the way to the top.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Mantis, how many Mosques were destoyed after 9/11 by us bigot American who oppose religious freedoms. Even after populatios of Muslims were seen on TV cheering the acts of those hero Martyrs? You are just as stupid as you were on Wizbang.

  5. mantis says:

    Mantis, how many Mosques were destoyed after 9/11 by us bigot American who oppose religious freedoms.

    GWB managed to keep you all distracted with a couple of wars. Now that those have lost your interest, you have trained your sights on Muslim Americans. If you scumbags score a victory here, what would follow is not hard to guess.

    You are just as stupid as you were on Wizbang.

    Likewise.

  6. Tano says:

    I think it is important for the reasons that Greenwald lays out.

    Kudos and thanks for your judgement and your committment to this issue Doug.

  7. MichaelW says:

    Early on, it was fairly apparent to me that the debate over this project wasn’t an isolated incident and that the protests in Staten Island, Florida, California, Wisconsin, and Tennessee had nothing to do with “sensitivities” about the location of a mosque in a building that, nine years ago, was a Burlington Coat Factory in a neighborhood that includes OTB betting parlors, fast food restaurants, and a strip club.

    So because mosque-building is opposed elsewhere (and the nation generally doesn’t care about it or pay any attention to it) for allegedly improper reasons, building a 13-story Islamic center at/near Ground Zero can’t possibly have anything to do with “sensitivities” about the location? The fact that the broad populace has strong opinions about the GZM, and don’t seem to even know about the other incidents, would seem to completely undermine your assertion.

    Additionally, the involvement in the anti-mosque movement of people like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, along with the rhetoric of political figures like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani has turned what should have been a rational discussion about best to integrate this community center into the TriBeCa community into something that is, quite frankly, distasteful in the manner in which it equates average Muslim-Americans with men who flew airplanes into buildings with the hope of killing as many people as possible.

    With respect to Geller and her ilk, I can agree with you (they tend to poison the discussion), but what have Palin, Gingrich and/or Giuliani said that was so inflaming? The latter have generally said “Yes, they have a protected right to build, but it’s still a really bad idea.” That is the central issue.

    Unfortunately, not all the encounters yesterday ended so peacefully, as this video of what happened when one man who the crowd thought was Muslim entered the area:

    Did you actually watch the video? How did that incident not end peacefully?

    If you were to base your opinion on Islam solely on what is portrayed on Fox News and on radio shows hosted by people like Sean Hannity, then it’s not surprising that you’d be opposed to not just to construction of a community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan, but any mosque anywhere. It is, quite simply, ignorance fueled by demonization. I would submit that if some of these people had actual Muslim neighbors or co-workers, their opinions about the religion, and the rights of its adherents, would be much, much different.

    I suppose one could say the same thing about the demonization of all things considered “conservative” or “right-wing” if you were to listen to ABC/NBC/CBS/MSNBC/CNN/NYT/WP/OTB/etc., etc. about Sarah Palin/George W. Bush/Tea Party/anything-and-everything-mentioning-race-class-or-gender.

  8. Brian Lehman says:

    I, for one, am holding out hope that a lot of this is simple emotionalism ginned up by Palin, Gingrich, et al. That is, that is it playing on the tragedy of 9/11 to get people riled up. If it is indeed a symptom of a wider fear/hatred of Muslims, then we are in for some even uglier times.

  9. Wayne says:

    I have to say Merry Christmas to that.

  10. mantis says:

    So because mosque-building is opposed elsewhere (and the nation generally doesn’t care about it or pay any attention to it) for allegedly improper reasons, building a 13-story Islamic center at/near Ground Zero can’t possibly have anything to do with “sensitivities” about the location? The fact that the broad populace has strong opinions about the GZM, and don’t seem to even know about the other incidents, would seem to completely undermine your assertion.

    Way to ignore the part where he backs up this assertion with polling data!

    On top of that, of course, we’ve got other polls which indicate that barely half of Americans agree with the idea that, senstitivity issues aside, Muslims have a right to build a mosque “near Ground Zero,” and a substantial plurality, though not a majority, seem to doubt that they have the right to build a mosque anywhere in the country.

    If you click the link, you’ll find that the Economist poll found 14% of Americans think mosques shouldn’t be permitted anywhere in the United States, and 34% think mosques should not be built in places where other religious structures are A-OK. So it seems clear that a good portion of the population believes that, Park51 aside, Muslims should be at least restricted in their religious rights, and a smaller portion thinks they should not be permitted to congregate at all. I think it is your assertions which are undermined here.

    With respect to Geller and her ilk, I can agree with you (they tend to poison the discussion), but what have Palin, Gingrich and/or Giuliani said that was so inflaming? The latter have generally said “Yes, they have a protected right to build, but it’s still a really bad idea.” That is the central issue.

    You forgot to read the text and links again. But since you asked, those three have been dishonest about what the project is, engaged in spreading conspiratorial falsehoods about the developers, and have advocated changing fundamental American principles like freedom of religion to something more like what is found in Saudi Arabia. A lot more than, “it’s a bad idea.”

    Did you actually watch the video? How did that incident not end peacefully?

    So unless there is physical violence, which there surely would have been if police weren’t around, then it’s peaceful? If I scream in your face am I being peaceful?

    I suppose one could say the same thing about the demonization of all things considered “conservative” or “right-wing” if you were to listen to ABC/NBC/CBS/MSNBC/CNN/NYT/WP/OTB/etc., etc. about Sarah Palin/George W. Bush/Tea Party/anything-and-everything-mentioning-race-class-or-gender.

    Gee, I manage to consume mainstream media from those sources and somehow I don’t come away with the impression that conservatives are evil and should have their rights taken away. Maybe I’ve been watching at the wrong times.

  11. Wayne says:

    Mantis
    You understand that there is a big difference between thinking a group has a Constitutional or legal right to do something and thinking they should actually do it?

  12. pylon says:

    “Mantis, how many Mosques were destoyed after 9/11 by us bigot American who oppose religious freedoms.”

    I suspect quite a few ground zeros near Mosques were created in Iraq.

  13. pylon says:
  14. Vast Variety says:

    Here is what a commenter at the Iowa Republican has to say about the whole issue.

    http://theiowarepublican.com/home/2010/08/23/braley-supports-ground-zero-mosque-says-it%E2%80%99s-just-a-local-zoning-issue/comment-page-1/#comment-27454

    “Waywardson wrote on 23 August, 2010, 15:55

    This is not a religious issue. That is the lie and the mistake being made by everyone on both sides here. Let me reframe this issue and see if you would agree to it under these terms.

    The year is 1812, the constitution has been in effect for many years, the British claim they want to build a huge “church” just a few blocks from our nation’s capitol. Does everyone see the reason why we should be very opposed to that?

    The year is 1942, and some Nazi’s want to build a religious shrine to Hitler a few blocks from the Pentagon. No problem with that right?

    Islam is NOT a religion. It is a fascist militaristic civil code wrapped in the garments of religious practices. I know we are not at war with “Islam”, but that is the problem. We should be. They are at war against everyone else.

    And yes, before any of you enabling useful idiots ask, yes, we should utterly destroy all of them. Just like we did the Nazi’s. We did not kill every German, but we sure killed enough that they gave up on their world dominate under Nazism. You do not hear much about the Nazi’s these days and for that reason.

    Likewise, we need to kill as many Muslims as it takes until none of them are cheering in the streets, chopping off people’s heads and threatening to wipe Israel off the map. Millions. Carpet bombing cities. Total 21st century, will to win, total war. Without repentance, mercy or second thoughts.

    And we need to do before they do it, because they are going to do it. And by then, it will be far too late to do anything about it.”

  15. Vast Variety says:

    And we wonder why there is a hole in the ground in New York City.

  16. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I am going to try to break down this issue to a level even the most anal among those who post here can understand. How many here would think it would be a good idea to tell you wives (if you have one) there hair looks unbecoming as they are wearing it, that there cooking is unfit for consumption and yes, that dress makes your ass look fat?e Now, by the first amendment, you have every right to make that statement. The wisdom of making it is questionable. I suggest Mataconis actually use those words to his “wife” because he seems to have a difficult time learning from others who may have more extensive experience in areas he insists he expose his ignorance in. If Doug continues to frame the issue falsely, he will alway get faulty results.

  17. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Mantis, I am still welcome at Wizbang. How about you?

  18. davod says:

    “You forgot to read the text and links again. But since you asked, those three have been dishonest about what the project is, engaged in spreading conspiratorial falsehoods about the developers, and have advocated changing fundamental American principles like freedom of religion to something more like what is found in Saudi Arabia.”

    Evidence of dishonesty?

    Maybe you do not want to see what is available?

  19. PD Shaw says:

    My interlocutor with the International Association of Islamophobia asks OTB to keep up the good work, particularly criticizing Christianity in response to criticism of Islam. It’s a keeper.

  20. Tano says:

    “You understand that there is a big difference between thinking a group has a Constitutional or legal right to do something and thinking they should actually do it?”

    Do you understand that so long as a group has a Constitutional or legal right to do something, no one gives a flying fart what you think they should actually do?

    Its none of your dam business what gets built at the site of the Burlington Coat Factory.

    If you have any, even a slight affection for the notion of free people being left alone to live their lives in peace, then stop trying to bully free people into bending to your will.

  21. davod says:

    “In June, The New York Times reported on a vicious opposition campaign against a proposed mosque in Staten Island.”

    Vicious opposition. It is my understanding that the local Catholic diocese voted to sell church property to an Islamic group without any input from either the congregation or the general community.

  22. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Tano. I have the constitutional right, as you do, to use the n word in public anytime I please. I want you to exercise that right in a predominately African American drinking place. I guess you feel you know better than the 210 mllion Americans who do not think the Mosque should be built there. To you, it was OK for neo Nazi’s to march through a town with a large Jewish population. Let me see if I get this right. In Muslim lands like Saudi Arabia, non believers are not allowed to travel to holy sites such as Mecca and Medina. However Muslims can build a Victory Mosque celebrating the Triumph of the 19 Martyrs on a site parts of the planes involved landed and we are not suppose to take offense. I think they (Muslims) are pretty lucky there were not reprisal attacks on Muslim populations all over. The Japanese understand what happens when the American people get angry. Stupid MFers like you Tano, who have not idea what they are doing only assist in making this sort of thing happen. You want to live under Sharia law, move. I will resist and if you get in the way, sorry.

  23. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Tano, I forgot. If you choose to exercise your 1st Amendment rights in a predominently black bar. Please post pictures of the resulting scuffle you might experience. If you do not you must be a coward.

  24. tom p says:

    >>>Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:
    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 19:11
    Mantis, I am still welcome at Wizbang. How about you?<<<

    And these are bragging rights????????????????

    I'll admit, never been to wizbang and am now certain sure to never go there.

  25. tom p says:

    >>>Tano, I forgot. If you choose to exercise your 1st Amendment rights in a predominently black bar. Please post pictures of the resulting scuffle you might experience. If you do not you must be a coward.<<<<

    WTF is this ZRIIII?????????????

    How many times have I heard you refer to OTHERS as cowards on the internet now??

  26. tom p says:

    >>>>I have the constitutional right, as you do, to use the n word in public anytime I please. I want you to exercise that right in a predominately African American drinking place.<<<<

    ZRIII…. please…. do….

    If you do, you will get exactly what you deserve. And we will get exactly what we pray for.

  27. Tano says:

    Hmm Zels,

    So let me get this straight – just so I understand you.

    You are assuming that if I were to go to a black bar and use the n-word, then I will get beat up.
    And that this is a good thing? Or at least a perfectly justifiable behavior on the part of the black patrons – one that you approve of?

    Because you seem to wish to analogize that behavior with the reactions of the Park51 opponents. As a way of justifying that opposition.

    Of course the analogy breaks down in so many ways. The imam in question here has been living and holding services in Lower Manhattan since 1983. So it is you who is the outsider here, not him. You are going into his neighborhood and trying to tell him where he can and cannot build his building. What business is it of yours? Or, for that matter, of the millions of people that you think oppose this project but who live hundreds or thousands of miles away?
    The polls show that the people of Manhattan support the project (not that even their opposition should be decisive).

    As for the rest of your diatribe, let me humbly suggest that you spend a bit more time learning about your fellow citizens, and about life in general, and less time trying to constantly outdo yourself making idiotic or otherwise outrageous comments.

    I’d gladly join you in any metaphorical foxhole fighting against any imposition of Sharia law. I’ve struggled long and hard against the political agenda of fundamentalist Christians, and the fundamentalists Muslims are even more offensive, and if they ever were an actual threat in this country, I would be fully in the fight.

    But you are acting like a scared little kid pissing in your pants because some Sufi wants to build a Y with a muslim prayer room in Lower Manhattan. One of the lessons I’ve learned in many years of fighting against religious encroachment of our secular state is that not everything that a religious person does in public is a threat to my freedom. In fact, I can only really justify the case for my own freedom to the extent that I acknowledge and respect the freedoms of others – to the exact same extent. And that means putting up with a lot of stuff that I would not allow to happen, if I were a tyrant or a dictator. But I am not, and I dont want to be, so I really do accept the notion of letting my fellow free citizens live their lives without me nosing into their business.

    If you were to adopt such an attitude it might cramp your style in the sense of giving you a lot less to rant about, but we would all be the winners in that, no?

  28. G.A.Phillips says:

    ***Fundamentally important. If we let the anti-religious freedom brigade win this one, the road ahead looks a lot bleaker, dominated by more and more “distractions” of this sort.***

    So now your against the Atheists and Islamists, er, I meant the liberal atheists and Islamists?

  29. MichaelW says:

    @mantis:

    Way to ignore the part where he backs up this assertion with polling data! … If you click the link, you’ll find that the Economist poll found 14% of Americans think mosques shouldn’t be permitted anywhere in the United States, and 34% think mosques should not be built in places where other religious structures are A-OK. So it seems clear that a good portion of the population believes that, Park51 aside, Muslims should be at least restricted in their religious rights, and a smaller portion thinks they should not be permitted to congregate at all. I think it is your assertions which are undermined here.

    So? That doesn’t prove the assertion (i.e. that opposition to mosques elsewhere has anything to do with opposition to GZM), or even support it. Even if we accept that the Economist poll is completely accurate, how does that jibe with the other polls showing 77% of the Mainstream voters think the GZM should be built elsewhere?

    Moreover, the Economist poll doesn’t exactly say what’s being suggested. Those polled were given three choices and asked which came closest to their own thinking (Q.11, p.4). The second choice (“There are some place in the United States where it is not appropriate to build mosques, though it would be appropriate for other religions to build houses of worship”) was chosen by 34% and doesn’t deny Muslims any constitutional rights whatsoever. Roughly one third felt that some places were simply “inappropriate” for a mosque (such as, perhaps, Ground Zero), not that a mosque could not constitutionally be built there. So, once again, Doug did not offer support for his assertion and neither have you.

    You forgot to read the text and links again. But since you asked, those three have been dishonest about what the project is, engaged in spreading conspiratorial falsehoods about the developers, and have advocated changing fundamental American principles like freedom of religion to something more like what is found in Saudi Arabia. A lot more than, “it’s a bad idea.”

    I didn’t forget anything. You seem to have forgotten what Doug actually wrote (my emphasis):
    Additionally, the involvement in the anti-mosque movement of people like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, along with the rhetoric of political figures like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani has turned what should have been a rational discussion about best to integrate this community center into the TriBeCa community into something that is, quite frankly, distasteful in the manner in which it equates average Muslim-Americans with men who flew airplanes into buildings with the hope of killing as many people as possible.

    Where in any of those links are Palin, Gingrich or Giuliani equate all Muslims with the 9/11 terrorists? Giuliani specifically disclaimed such an association even. And while Gingrich’s argument is completely irrelevant and ill-conceived, he doesn’t make any such association either. If I missed something in those links feel free to point it out, but I sure didn’t see anything.

    So unless there is physical violence, which there surely would have been if police weren’t around, then it’s peaceful? If I scream in your face am I being peaceful?

    Ummm … yeah. Sure, “peaceful protest” is a bit of an oxymoron definitionally, but some screaming and yelling (that ends with apologies and handshakes) sure looks peaceful to me. Maybe you don’t know what a violent protest looks like? If you look around, you can find plenty of examples (hint = use google-fu and look up “Seattle + WTO + 1999”).

    Gee, I manage to consume mainstream media from those sources and somehow I don’t come away with the impression that conservatives are evil and should have their rights taken away. Maybe I’ve been watching at the wrong times.

    Well obviously that is because you are a Prince Among Men and accept that Tea Partiers are not a bunch of racists who hate having a black president, that Sarah Palin is an intelligent and successful politician who did a good job as Gov. of Alaska (even if you don’t want her to be POTUS), and that (a la Howard Dean) GZM opponents (such as Harry Reid) have respectable points of view that should be heard and discussed. But that’s you. Others aren’t quite as tolerant.

  30. mantis says:

    Mantis, I am still welcome at Wizbang. How about you?

    Sure am. Jay even said so recently. I have no interest.

  31. mantis says:

    So now your against the Atheists and Islamists, er, I meant the liberal atheists and Islamists?

    Actually I’m an atheist myself, which is partly why I value religious freedom so much. We’re more hated than Muslims. Damned if I’ll let the majority tyrannize me (yeah, I’m looking at you).